Thursday, August 27, 2009

SPAIN 1982



The 1982 World Cup was held in Spain. Qualification was increased to 24 Nations who would participate in the final tournament. The first Phase would have 6 Groups of 4 Teams each from which the top 2 teams qualified into the Next Round. The Second Group Phase consisted of 4 Groups of 3 Teams each where the top team in each Group qualified for the Semi-finals and then the Finals. A rather complicated format which would however be only implemented once, being Spain 1982.

In Qualification the most surprising absentee was the Netherlands, finalists in the previous 2 World Cups, who missed out. Furthermore with the increase in nations at the Final tournament a host of first time participants had qualified, including the likes of Algeria & Cameroon from Africa, New Zealand from Oceania, Honduras from North America and Kuwait from Asia. Spain 1982 became the first ever World Cup which featured Nations from all 6 of FIFA’s Confederations. Another interesting fact of Spain 1982 was that it was the first World where anthems were not played by music bands but rather by recordings.

The mascot for Spain 1982 was Naranjito, an orange which was a typical fruit in Spain. Naranjito is seen wearing the kit of the Spanish National Team. It comes from Naranja which is Spanish for Orange.

The official ball of the 1982 World Cup was known as the Adidas Tango

Group 1
Group 1 featured Italy led by Dino Zoff as well as Poland with the likes of Lato & Boneik. First Timers Cameroon & Peru made up the group. However the first 4 games all ended square with Cameroon holding off both Poalnd and Peru to a goalless draw, with controversy surrounding the latter as Roger Milla’sgoal which appeared to be legitimate was ruled offside. The Italians and Poles also played to a goalless draw and Italy’s conti scored the first goal of the group against Peru who managed a late equaliser. This meant the group was wide open going into the final round of games. However Poland clinched qualification in the group with a 5-1 thrashing of Peru with both Lato and Boniek netting. Italy and Cameroon drew 1-1 which meant that Italy qualified 2nd ahead ofCameroon by means of more goals scored. Italy became the first team ever to qualify from the Group Phase without winning a single game. The Italian press were disappointed with the Italians uninspired performances in the Group Phase and the Azzurri decided on a Press Black Out. The Italian Serie A domestic league was rocked by a scandal surrounding match fixing by national players and Paolo Rossi was also taken to the cleaners for his unimpressive performances in the Group Phase.

Group 2
Group 2 featured European Power West Germany who were shocked in their opening game by Algeria who won 2-1. Austria won their opening 2 games against Chile and Algeria. West Germany after their surprise loss to Algeria bounced back with a 4-1 thumping of Chile thanks to a Rummenigge hatrick. In the final game Algeria beat Chile 3-2 to leave them with 4 points. However in the final game a day later it was simple, West Germany had to win to qualify andAustria had to either draw or lose by 2 goals or less. After 10 minutes of attacking football from West Germany Hrubesch scored to put them in front. The rest of the game basically was non existent as both Austria and West Germany had somehow reached an agreement and were merely on the field to see off the clock as they kicked the ball around aimlessly. The 1-0 result remained and meant that both of them qualified at the expense of Algeria. The Spanish crowd were furious and were chanting “Fuera, Fuera (Out, Out)”. Angry Algerian supporters waved bank notes at the players. 1 German fan was so upset he actually burnt the German flag in disgust. The outcome of this match, rather the manner in which it was played, prompted FIFA to change the rules for the final game of the Group phase to be played at the same time for all future World Cups hoping no further planned results would come about.

Group 3
Group 3 featured the Opening Ceremony and First Game of the tournament played by none other than Defending Champions Argentina at the Camp NouStadium in Barcelona in front of over 90 000 spectators. The capacity crowd was there to see the new Sensation in Football and Barcelona Football Club, Diego Maradona.

Barcelona and The Camp Nou Faithful New Record Signing did little to impress the crowd as Argentina were surprisingly defeated 1-0 by Belgium. In the 2ndgame of the Group a World Record was achieved as Hungary absolutely blasted El Salvador 10-1 equalling the highest ever victory margin at the FIFA World Cup as well as becoming the first team to ever score 10 Goals in 1 game. Leading 5-0, Hungary made a telling substitution, Lazlo Kiss came on and became the first and only player to date to score a hatrick as a substitute. Argentina after their loss to Belgium won their next 2 games 4-1 against Hungary withMaradona scoring twice and 2-0 against El Salvador to qualify behind Belgium who beat El Salvador and drew with Hungary.

Group 4
Group 4 featured two of Europe’s strongest teams in England and France who played the first game. Young Bryan Robson scored the fastest goal of the World Cup in just 27 seconds to give England the lead. France equalised but Robson scored a second and England won the game 3-1. England then went on to win their next 2 games to qualify top of the Group. Tiny Kuwait however held Czechoslovakia to a 1-1 draw before they took on France and the Carre Magique ofTigana, Platini, Giresse and Fernandez came back from their disappointing loss to England to beat Kuwait 4-1. The match was surrounded by a very unusual and controversial moment whereby Alain Giresse scored a 4th goal for France with the score at 3-1. The Kuwaiti players and officials protested the goal as they believed that it was offside and they heard a whistle that came from the crowd. Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah came out from his box seat onto the pitch and had a heated discussion with Soviet referee Stupar regarding the goal and threatening to take his Kuwaiti team off the pitch till the goal was disallowed. Referee Stupar disallowed the goal to the anger of the French and the game continued with the French scoring again to make the score 4-1. Referee Stupar was never allowed to referee again by FIFA and the Sheikh got a $ 10 000-00 fine.

The French went on to draw 1-1 with Czechoslovakia and qualify along with England for the next phase.

Group 5
Group 5 featured hosts Spain who did little to give the host nation fans any hope that Spain would go much further than the first round as they managed only to draw 1-1 with Honduras, beat Yugoslavia 2-1 and then lose to Northern Ireland who surprisingly topped the group with that victory and 2 draws against Yugoslavia and Honduras. Yugoslavia who beat Honduras 1-0 to finish level on points and goal difference with Spain they went out on account of less goals scored.

Group 6
Group 6 featured World Cup favourites Brazil, with the likes of Zico, Socrates, Eder and Falcao, Brazil looked to bring back the Success and brilliance of the 1970 World Cup Winning Team.
In their opening game they overcame a powerful Soviet side 2-1 with Eder scoring a brilliant free kick. In New Zealand’s first ever World Cup game they lost 5-2 to Scotland. In the game between Brazil and Scotland Sean Connery said it best in the highlights package when he summed up the 2 sets of supporters, you have one set who think they are supporting the best team in the world and another who know they are. Scotland with the likes of Graham Sounness, KennyDalglish and Gordon Strachan were out to silence the Brazilians but were instead humbled by them in a 4-1 thumping with Zico, Eder and Falcao getting on the score sheer. Falcao’s goal was an absolute cracker. Brazil finished off their group with a 4-0 hiding of New Zealand with Zico scoring twice.

The Soviets with keeper Rinat Dassaiev whose performances was almost as good as Yashin thrashed New Zealand 3-0 and held Scotland to a 2-2 draw to qualify ahead of the Scots on goal difference.

2nd Group Phase
Group A

Group A in featured Poland who beat Belgium 3-0 in the opening game with Zbigniew Boniek scoring a hatrick. The USSR then beat Belgium 1-0. In the deciding game between Poland and USSR which ended goalless allowing the Poles to qualify, Politics between the 2 nations were at a breaking point asPoland’s Communist Government had forestalled a Soviet invasion.

Group B
West Germany and England played to a goalless draw in the opening game. The Germans then went on to beat host nation Spain 2-1. This meant that Englandhad to beat Spain by 2 clear goals to qualify for the semi-finals. With the likes of Shilton in goal, Terry Butcher, Kevin Keegan, Bryan Robson & Trevor Francis, England failed to score against the Hosts playing for pride and the game ended goalless. This meant that West Germany qualified for the semi-finals ahead of England who were undefeated in 5 games but still went home.

Group C
Group of Death

Undoubtedly the Group of Death in the 2nd Phase, featuring favourites Brazil & Defending Champions Argentina as well as Italy. In the first game of the groupItaly beat Argentina 2-1 thanks to one of the greatest defensive man marking performances by Claudio Gentile who nullified Maradona as an attacking threat through the game.
Argentina had to beat the highly fancied Brazilians if they were to have any chance of defending their 1978 title. Under Captain Passarella with the like ofArdiles and New Sensation Diego Maradona they provided no match for the Brilliant Brazilians who showed the beauty and brilliance of their 1 touch attacking football style. They absolutely crushed the Argentines 3-1. The Brazilians were ready to get back to the top of their game. Argentina were frustrated by the brilliance of the Brazilians and it showed with the sending off of Diego Maradona for kicking out at Batista.

The final match of the group between Italy and Brazil served as basically a Quarterfinal. Brazil needed just a draw to qualify and Italy had to win. The Brazilian game was based on their beautiful attacking game with the like of Zico, Socrates and Falcao while the Italian success was based on their solid defence performances notably the centre back partnership of Scirea and Gentile and led by goalkeeper Dino Zoff. Brazil were magnificent in the tournament winning all 4 of their games, yet Italy were mediocre with 3 draws and a single victory over Argentina. Strike Paolo Rossi was under fire by the Italian Media is he failed to score and impress to date. The game took the shape as expected with Italy defending with 10 men leaving only Rossi upfront and the Brazilians taking control of the game with wave after wave of attack upon the resolute Italian defence. Surprisingly Rossi scored the 1st goal for Italy, however Socrates equalised, before Rossi gave Italy the lead again. It seemed the Italian defence of Scirea and Gentile were superb and were going to hold out but Falcao scored a brilliant goal to equalise and put Brazil in the qualifying spot again. Rossi however popped up and scored his and Italy 3rd goal to restore the lead. Italy this time managed to defend the lead and qualify ahead of Brazil for the semi-finals. This game is considered one of the greatest upsets in the World Cup and Italy’s strong defence and counter attacks held out against the Mighty Brazilians. Gentile and Scirea were superb. Gentile however got a yellow card and would miss the semi-final clash against Poland.

Group D
In Group D, the Brilliant French seemed to have an easy path through as they beat Austria 1-0 in the opening game. Austria then drew 2-2 against surprise package Northern Ireland who featured the youngest ever player to play at the FIFA World Cup in Norman Whiteside at 17 years and 41 days. France then thumped Northern Ireland 4-1 with Giresse and Rocheteau both scoring twice. France qualified for the Semi-finals for the first time since 1958.

Well after Brazil and Argentina were ousted by the Italians in the 2nd Group Phase the semi-final line-up was all European, the first time this occurred since 1966 and the 3rd time in all that it occurred. After the brilliant performances in the 2nd Group Phase Italy easily beat the Poles thanks to 2 goals from Rossi.Italy and Rossi’s revival seemed to have come at just the right time as they seemed to be peaking just when it mattered.

However although Italy were brilliant in their victory over Poland the Epic clash of the Tournament that will always be remembered was the 2nd semi-final between the Fabulous French and the West Germans.
France with the likes of Platini, Giresse, Tigana & Co had overcome their early defeat by the English to produce some of the best soccer of the tournament and reached the semi-finals in style. West Germany after their shameful display along with the Austrians scraped through to the 2nd Round where a victory over hosts Spain was enough to see them qualify for the semi-finals.

The match began with the taking the lead through Pierre Littbarski’s brilliant strike. The French responded with an equaliser within 10 minutes. The match remained close & tight until midway through the second half. French defender Patrick Battiston was chasing on to a through ball that split the German defence.Battiston had broken through and had struck the ball passed German Keeper Schumacher and it went just wide of the upright. However the fact that Battistonmissed was nothing in comparison to Harold Schumacher’s viscous challenge on the Frenchman . Schumacher completely ignored the ball and went straight forBattiston crushing the Frenchman to the ground in a clear and blatant foul. Poor Battiston lay on the ground unconscious and short of two teeth which he lost during the challenge. To the amazement and astonishment of the French and the World Dutch referee Charles Corver deemed the challenge was not even a foul let alone not sending off or booking Schumacher and gave the Germans a goal kick. The game was at a stand still while Battiston was carried off on a stretcher still unconscious. This challenge is forever known as the FOUL OF THE CENTRURY.


After this bizarre incident the match went on in the true spirit of football as the French overlooked the violent challenge of Schumacher and concentrated on playing the game of football and were the better team for much of the remainder of the game. Just before the full time whistle Manuel Amoros struck a ferocious shot onto the German crossbar.

Extra Time
After just 2 minutes of Extra Team French Sweeper Tresor, in a rare attack, fired a swerving volley passed Schumacher to give the French a 2-1 lead. A Few minutes later Giresse drove home a beautiful shot off the post to give the French a 3-1 lead. However the Germans never ever give up. With just 3 minutes to go before the first half ended Substitute Karl Heinz Rummenigge pulled one back for the Germans to keep the game alive. Just after the restart the Germans achieved what was thought to be impossible just about 10 minutes ago, when Fischer popped up to equalise with his trademark bicycle kick for the Germans after the French failed to clear. A Goal that was voted as the Greatest Goal in the History of German Football. Once again the Germans came back from the dead. The game remained level after Extra Time at 3-3 and went on to become the First Game ever to be decided on Penalties.

The first 5 penalties were all convereted, 3 by France and 2 by the Germans. The first ever penalty missed in a shootout was by Uli Steilike of Germany whose kick was saved by French keeper Ettorri giving France the advantage 3-2. However Didier Six had his penalty stopped by the notorious Schumacher andGermany then converted their next 2 with Platini also converting his for the French leaving the penalty shoot out level at 3-3 going into the final round of penalties. France’s Left Sided Pillar of Strength Maxim Bossis had his kicked saved by Schumacher and Hrubesch then stepped and confidently converted to send the Germans through to the final.

This epic battle is best described by Michel Platini’s statement of the game “For me, no book or film or play could ever recapture the way I felt that day. It was so complete, so strong and so fabulous”.

It was undoubtedly one of the greatest games of the World Cup Ever, rivalling the Game of the Century Semi-final between Italy and West Germany in 1970.

Third Place Playoff
A depleted, exhausted and emotionally drained French side came out to face Poland for the third place playoff which was won by the Poles 3-2 as the French were no doubt tired from their epic semi-final clash.

Reeling from match fixing scandals of their top international players in their domestic Serie A League, and failing to win a single game in their first Group Phase, The Italians came back strong with victories over Defending Champions Argentina, Favourites Brazil, and Poland to get to the final against all odds. West Germany also scraped through in the Group Phase after settling for a 1-0 win over Austria in a farcical game as well as being held by England in the 2nd Phase. However they showed great spirit and heart in their epic semi-final against the French to get to the finals, against all odds after their opening defeat to Algeria. Would the epic clash in he semi-finals work against the Germans.

After the epic semi-final encounter between West Germany and France and Italy’s surprise bu specatacular victory over the Brazilians in the 2nd Phase the final was rather and anti climax o the World Cup if anything, although the matches mentioned above were absolute classics.

The game was very tight and defensive and the Germans were tiring in the 2nd half from the after effects of their semi-final battle. However Italy’s Cabrini became the first ever play to miss a penalty in a World Cup Final. Who else but the new Star of the show Paolo Rossi opened up the scoring in the final after a quick free kick taken by Centre half Gentile caught the Germans off guard. Italy building from their solid defensive partnership of Gentile and Scirea exploited the fact that the Germans were chasing the game and attacking to get the equaliser. Tardelli, scored Italy’s 2nd goal and is best remembered for his celebration post goal which was definitely worthy of winning a World Cup. Italy had now a 2 goal cushion over the Germans but knowing their fighting spirit nothing was to be taken for granted. However substitute Altobelli scored a 3rd for Italy with under 10 minutes to go to ensure Italy would win their 3rd World Cup title and 1stpost World War II. However Germany did manage a late consolation from Paul Breitner who also scored in the 1974 final.

Italy had won the World cup and their victory was definitely owed to their solid defence lead by Captain Dino Zoff (3rd Photo) in goals, who became the oldest captain and player to win the World cup. Centre Defence Partnership of Gentile and Scirea were brilliant throughout the tournament. Leading Goalscorer of the tournament Paolo Rossi (1st Photo) won the Golden Boot with 6 goals as well as the Golden Ball as the Best Player of the Tournament. This was the first time the award was introduced at the FIFA World Cup. Rossi is till today the only player to have won the Golden Ball, Golden Boot & World Cup as a player in the same tournament. Italian coach Bearzot (2nd Photo) who put a Press Blackout on all his players after the group phase seemed to have created the unit that peaked just at the right time to lift the trophy.




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